Perkins, H. Wesley, and Henry Wechsler. 1996. "Variation in Perceived College Drinking Norms and Its Impact on Alcohol Abuse: A Nationwide Study." Journal of Drug Issues, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 961-974.
College studentsí perceptions of campus norms about alcohol use and the impact of these perceptions on personal alcohol abuse are examined with data (N= 17, 592) from a nationwide survey of students at 140 colleges and universities.The studentís particular collegiate environment accounted for only a small portion of the overall variation in perception of campus drinking norms.Within each campus context perceptions varied widely.More permissive perceptions of the norm were significantly associated with greater personal alcohol abuse even after controlling for personal attitudes, thus suggesting that perceivinga permissive environment encourages students to drink more heavily than they would otherwise based on their personal attitudes.The detrimental impact of perceiving more permissive drinking norms is greatest for students whose own attitudes about drinking are already permissive.